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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > March 2016 > Good Googling

Good Googling

Think you know how to get the most out of Google? Alison Carter shares some ways to find the facts for your fiction without googling your way off-topic

I wear two ‘job hats’ – chartered librarian and writer of fiction. My bread-and-butter writing market is short stories, long reads and serials for the women’s magazines, and I’ve been lucky enough to publish many hundreds. My work now appears at least weekly in The People’s Friend, My Weekly and Woman’s Weekly.

I think I function best in the past, writing historical stories. This reflects my work in libraries, because the most rewarding task for most librarians is a research query. Over the years research for our library users has become less and less book-based. We find ourselves, to an ever greater extent, online.

I have trained hundreds of students in internet research. I try to give them tools and tips to save them time and get them information that’s reliable and targeted. One big problem with online research is what I like to call the ‘one o’clock in the morning trap’. Have you ever found yourself Googling some interesting topic at ten in the evening, only to glance at the clock on your PC and find that it’s tomorrow, and that your research has wandered into all kinds of fascinating areas, but not the one about which you wanted information? If you write fiction professionally, or even as a hobby, this can be a waste of your valuable writing time.

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